Jade Nguyen's Reviews > The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
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's review
Nov 28, 2011

it was amazing

1. { Genre }: Junior > Other > Realistic Fiction

2. { Summary }: Wanda has 100 dresses, but only wears the same one blue dress to school every day. Classmates become suspicious of her “lie” and torment her until she finally decides to move to a new school.

3a. { Area for comment }: Theme

3b. { Critique }: Although this title was written a few decades ago, I found it still to be touching and accessing for the every day classroom.

3c. { Critique Example }:
Wanda was a socially awkward girl who just wanted to belong, but just didn’t know how. One day, dresses seemed to be the topic of the day and Wanda decides to be brave and mutter, “...I have 100 dresses” The girls immediately focus their attention on her and as Peggy, the most popular girl in the school, addresses her with questions and all Wanda can do is confirm that she has 100 dresses all lined up in her closet. Of course, the girls become suspicious and assume that Wanda is lying because for every single day she had attended school she’d worn the sane faded blue never ironed dress. Every day, the girls Peggy, the most popular girl in school, and Maddie, the silent guilty bystander, would play the “100 Dresses Game” asking her the same questions trying to prove Wanda a liar. Of course, the game got old and Wanda left the school. The remained of the story explores the minds of two young girls - one in which wants to make a difference and the other in which seems indifferent, but has a hard time doing the right thing. These personalities are very typical in growing pre-teens - both boys and girls. The question is - how can a victim of bullying be so kind towards her predators? Why was Wanda so kind? These are questions that adults can easily answer, but even we have issues with showing kindness to those who show us the opposite. 

This is a quick read and the story begins in such a way that grabs attention. It begins with the absence of Wanda and goes into the reason behind her disappearance. It’s a creative way to start a story in which deals with the typical, but never-ending battles in our classrooms today.

{ Curriculum Connection }:
A fine book to teach morals and manners. I would use this book for a text to self and text to world lesson. This is something that all students can relate to. Although the main characters are females and boys tend to be less emotive, it would be a nice way to introduce the existence of such behavior even if it isn’t voiced. Sometimes bringing things that are hidden behind closed doors to life in the classroom can privately help students that share the same concern/issue at home.

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